Getting Started with HR System Selection: an Agenda

In starting this article, a keyboard feels a bit like the proverbial starting blocks, but once I’m off them and into typing, I’ll be fine. Getting started with an HR system selection project is ever-so-slightly more significant. Starting simply means identifying a next step and here are some simple questions to give you a personal agenda in getting going.
Whether you are considering a first HR system, approaching contract renewal time or considering whether you can do better than your current HR technology, please share our confidence that system selection is to be approached as opportunity.
Read on for something of a self-test as to how ready you are in forming views and understandings of HR systems in your own organisational context. Look for the one where you lack an answer and find out more by taking my “do one thing” suggestion.
In the coming season I’ll be taking a closer look at particular aspects of the selection decision and at seminar with clients exploring action points that follow.
“I’ve started so I’ll finish!” and no Mastermind to it.

An Agenda of 10 Questions

1. When is the time to act? How do you stand contractually? What do want to do sooner?
Do one thing: check your current contract terms
2. Who are the key stakeholders? Have you identified user interests, project resource and necessary suppliers?
Do one thing: think who the right, senior champion is and sponsor for moving forwards
3. How open are you to new ideas? Do you know what’s out there?
Do one thing: read something on system selection choices [try this] or attend the CIPD annual software showcase event
4. Do you understand the organisation or IT strategy for systems overall?
Do one thing: check you are aware of other major systems projects and purchases that are also on the table and their respective milestone dates
5. What lessons can be learned from previous implementations? What goes well and badly both for HR projects and organisational project management cross-function?
Do one thing: brain-storm amongst those who put in the last HR system what they remember
6. What is the attitude to IT risk and where risk lies? Are most systems deployed on premise or outsourced?
Do one thing: ask the IT Director or Manager for their views about cloud-hosting v. in-house solutions
7. What are the key things a new system would, should and could deliver? What could be simplified in HR/payroll?
Do one thing: allow HR a day-dream and a “wish list”, making clear it may well not happen that way!
8. Have you thought about information needs?
Do one thing: take a reality check on the readership and use of current management information available
9. What change is afoot in your organisation? How will this impact a choice of HR system?
Do one thing: work through each major change project for an immediate assessment as to implications for HR choice
10. How ready are you and your colleagues ready for systems change?
Do one thing: compare your sector and culture to those of similar apparent metrics (e.g. employee numbers) and reflect on whether you are relative technophobes or technophiles
You will be faced with both a plethora of choice but also apparent situation straight-jackets at the outset of HR system selection. By taking a step back and assessing questions openly, make a start in objective understandings as to the options ahead. In next writing I will look at the rational and “softer” side of a selection project and examine some of the fundamental market choices.
If you are an HR Director looking ahead to system selection then express interest in joining Phase 3 at a seminar to explore more.

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